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Creative solutions for showing/enforcing WORD COUNT in "text w/ formatting" field


Level 2

Hi there,


Wondering if anyone here has a creative solution for showing or enforcing word count in a "text with formatting" field?


Context - we are trying to show and enforce a word limit at the custom form level on text fields so authors can send content fragments (e.g., paragraphs of text) from Workfront to other downstream systems that will assemble them into various pre-formatted templates; therefore, it is important that they do not author too much text or it will spill over in the final product (e.g., paragraph will run off the PowerPoint slide), which is why a word limit or word counter would be helpful


Recognize there is no native Workfront functionality to achieve this, so willing to go the custom route to achieve this.


Open to hearing your thoughts and ideas!


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7 Replies


Level 1

I have had the same problem with my client. It has been very frustrating and unnecessarily complicated dealing with this. This should absolutely be a native Workfront function!


Community Advisor



Unfortunately there is no functionality to limit the number of characters in a text field and prevent users from typing over that limit.


What you could do however, is build a calculated field that counts the number of characters used and then returns a value of "over character limit" (or any words of your choosing) if the character limit is exceeded. Although this wouln't stop people from entering too many characters, it would provide a visual representation of if the limit as been exceeded and act as a validation check.


The calculation needed to count characters in a field would be:


LEN({DE:Name of Field To Count})


Hope this helps!


Best Regards,



Community Advisor

Apologies, just re-read your question. You would like to count words, not characters.


Using the following text mode in a calculation would get you a lot closer:



SUM(1,SUB(LEN(REPLACE({DE:Name of Field To Count}," ","**")),LEN({DE:Name of Field To Count})))



What this calclulation is doing is counting the number of spaces in a string. Since each word is separated with a space it will give you a count of the number of words. It's not perfect since words may be separated with other characters such as forward slashes or dashes, but it will get you a lot closer to what you are trying to achieve.


Best Regards,




Hi @MadelaineLa and @Mary413,


I concur with the clever formula @Richard_Le_  provided, but (since this Ask has been around for a long time) also considered creating a solution for it...then (fortunately) decided to look for a solution for it, first.


Turns out that there are indeed free plugins that already do the trick, such as this Word Counter Plus for Chrome which I just installed, and invite you to consider: users can simply highlight any text block and right click to see a popup up the Word Count you are after, the Character Count others have asked for, etc. as below.


Enjoy, and if anyone else finds (or creates) a better one, let everyone know!








Level 1

Thank you for the detailed responses @Richard_Le_. This makes sense and would be a great interim solution for us, but I'm struggling to get the {DE: Field Name} expression to actually recognize the field I need to count the characters within. 


I notice the field I want to count is not an auto populated suggestion in the calculated field and I'm receiving an error "{DE:Field Name} is not a field in your system". For context, I'm wanting to count the words in a "Text Field with Formatting" and the label and name of this field is the same ("Commentary"). I'm also attempting to include the calculated field within the same custom form as the text field itself. Is this an issue?


Any suggestions on how I may be able to resolve this?


Level 9

This is so great! I just tried this and it's working as we needed to check character count on titles of items.  Thank you. 


Level 10

Until Adobe gets serious about form validation, this and all related problems will remain… well, problems.